• Carla Ra

Cultural Shock

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

Hello, welcome to my blog!

I am the aspiring sci-fi author and knowledge collector Carla Ra.

Have you ever wondered which elements of a story are specific to a culture or a location?

I was born and raised on the coast of Brazil, and since infancy, we are exposed to other cultures, places, and situations in television, radio, or the internet. We get to know places such as New York or London and see how is high school in the US or Japan, for example. Naturally, we import some traditions, the most classic example is the Christmas season, where our Santa is dressed in North of Europe's winter clothes, while it is usually 35°C outside (around 100°F). The trees are decorated with white foam to simulate snow, even though it's summer in December.

Since moving to Germany, however, I’ve realized that there are more details that I haven’t noticed before. And in my naivety, I thought those were creative writing of screen players, artistic license. I could never have imagined that there was such a thing as spring allergies, for example.

Now that I've mentioned it, let's start with this case.

Warning: spoilers ahead.

It seems that the plants go crazy in springtime, spreading pollen everywhere, causing people to suffer from respiratory allergies. I’m going to talk about The Happening, a 2008 movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan. I know there is a Stephen King story with a similar plot, but I’ve never read it. The plot is simple, something strange is happening, causing people to go into a murder spree (zombies?). In the end, the plants were to blame.

My exact thought was "Really?! Plants?! Really?!"

Now I get it. Plants are mean where the seasons are well defined.

The slow sunset is also something new to me. Let's talk about Your Name, Japanese animation of 2016 directed by Makoto Shinkai. There is a scene where the main characters meet face-to-face for the first time, but they can only interact during the twilight. They have a lot to discuss, tracing a plan to save the population of a town from decimation. However, they take their sweet time talking about their feelings, their future, whatever. I got anxious, thinking they should hurry up. There was no time for chit chat, after all.

Well, it turns out there is! As opposed to what I'm used to, the Sun can set lazily in other latitudes. I was sure that it was a poetic way to say that when they are together time stops. My mistake.

Another example came to me while watching a 2007 K-drama with one of my best friends, The first shop of Coffee Prince, starred by Yoon Eun-Hye and Gong Yoo. There is a scene where the character of Yon Eun-Hye leaves behind a bicycle in the middle of the street to follow a trail of nuts made by Gong Yoo’s character. We, me and my friend, looked at each other and protested at the same time. There's no way she would leave the bicycle behind unlocked like this! We concluded that it was a way to say that love is more important than the bicycle. My friend and I understand that there are safer countries, but still... This was inconceivable. Now the situation is more believable for me. An object can be left unattended for a moment without worries. Incredible!

For now, that's it. If I notice another detail like those I will share it.

Thank you for reading!

Pictures by ki-ker, The Pixelman, Free Photos, and Bessie, from Pixabay.

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